USS Akron or Macon LTA Aircraft Carrier

Published: July 31st, 2015     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: Doug Cole - IPMS# 46605
Scale: 1/520
Company: AMT
Price: $30.95
Product / Stock #: 957
Product provided by: Round 2 Models

Background

The USS Akron and Macon were lighter than air (LTA) aircraft carriers built for the US Navy in the 1930's. Filled with Helium, ach rigid airship was designed to carry five single-seat Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawks for scouting or two-seat Fleet N2Y-1 biplanes for training. A gondola was also designed to be lowered through the cloud layer for aerial surveillance. Both rigid airships crashed within two years after becoming operational. There's a good article on these craft at: https://www.airships.net/us-navy-rigid-airships/uss-akron-macon/ .

The Kit

This review covers the USS Akron or Macon LTA Aircraft Carrier 1:520 Scale AMT Model Kit #892. A 2015 re-release, this model should be readily available at most outlets. The kit has markings for either the USS Akron (ZRS-4) or the USS Macon (ZRS-5). AMT designates this as a Skill Level 2 kit for modelers 10 years and older but I think that might be a little conservative due to some of the small parts and decals in this kit. It is molded in light gray styrene and has waterslide decals with a basic construction guide. Large but simple, this kit is a great example of the excellent subject matter that used to be commonplace in the modeling industry.

Construction and Detailing

For the most part, tube glue works just fine for construction on this kit. The smaller assemblies such as the motors and braces really need some superglue also. Start this build by deciding whether you want to build the USS Akron or Macon. I chose the Macon, simply because there seems to be more photographic material available for that aircraft. The first thing was to wash and dry all the main parts in mild detergent, then assemble the three pieces for the display stand to serve as a cradle to use in construction.

Glue the two hanging hooks (optional) on the top of the starboard side of the body, then assemble the two fuselage halves. You'll find that they fit together very well. Use some clamps on the stabilizers and tape or rubber bands to keep them together until they set. Assemble the four pieces of the horizontal stabilizers then add them to the slots in the body keeping them at 90 degrees. Install the hangar door and gondola to the main body and for the Macon add the motor radiators. You'll find the usual longitudinal seam running through the top and bottom of the model, so use some putty and sand it out until it's gone. Include the gondola seam also.

Paint the body with a good etching primer then spray it with some flat aluminum. Use the cradle to paint one side, let it dry, and then paint the other. Spray all the other parts on the trees flat aluminum as well. When the body has dried thoroughly, tape it off except for the area of the off-white stripe on the side and spray the stripe along the motor line. Remove the tape and set it aside to dry. I painted the propeller spinners black and the blade tips red also.

Apply the decals per the instructions at this point, including the stabilizer's. That necessary because the braces for the rudder assists are installed right over them.

After the decals have dried install the braces and rudder assists in the holes in the stabilizers using some tube glue. First add the stabilizer braces. Note that these are marked L(eft) & R(ight) on the tree and that's how they fit into the mounting holes with the nose facing forward. Now add the proper hood vents (depending on your version choice) to the top of the aircraft. Do some test-fitting there to ensure a good fit.

The props are added to the motors and then installed into the divots on the body. Then add the back braces with some superglue and accelerant to keep them in place. Finally, I finished off the display stand in gold and placed some sticky back felt on the contact points. There you have it, a great and unusual model for the aviation buff to display on the stand or hanging from the skyhooks.

Overall

You'll need most of a shelf to display this big model but it will definitely be impressive. The detail on this kit is good and the parts fit together very well. Location points are lacking on the motor braces but some superglue and accelerant will take care of that. The decals are very good, but because they are placed over molded-in features, a little setting solution will ensure a good look. This is a great kit to commemorate a small but important chapter in aviation history. Completed dimensions are L-173/4" x W-31/4" x H-31/4. I have to give Round2 Models credit for re-releasing this model and to IPMS for providing the review sample.

  • Layout of parts, decals, instructions
    Layout of parts, decals, instructions
  • Stabilizers Radiators Hatch Gondola
    Stabilizers Radiators Hatch Gondola
  • Stand parts
    Stand parts
  • Stand
    Stand
  • Body Assembly
    Body Assembly
  • Seams
    Seams
  • Seam repair
    Seam repair
  • Model in paint
    Model in paint
  • Rear decals
    Rear decals
  • Side decals
    Side decals
  • Motors
    Motors
  • Rudder assist
    Rudder assist
  • Stabilizer braces
    Stabilizer braces
  • Completed side view
    Completed side view
  • Completed close-up side view
    Completed close-up side view
  • Completed rear view
    Completed rear view
  • Completed top view
    Completed top view
  • Completed underside view
    Completed underside view

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